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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

#309 PLAYART –MERCURY POLICE, VW PORSCHE 914 and RANGE ROVER (7132 and 7138 and 7182) (Around 1982)

This article is a short update to a previous one dealing with the hongkongese die-cast manufacturer Playart. The most comprehensive list of Playart cars can be found in the following two websites:

Personally I preffer the first one, which has pictures for almost every model. Both lists are missing the same models, so I guess the makers of the lists know each other.

Unfortunately no one has been able to provide a comprehensive list of models by year of release. That must be quite a challenge, so I will date these cars by the early 80s, that’s when I bought the VW Porsche 914. My guess is that they probably made around 1982.

I remember I didn’t like the Porsche 914 because of the terrible noise its wheels do when rolling, similar to somebody scratching a blackboard. It was unpleasant, so the car remained most of the times in the display case. That’s why it is today in such a nice condition. Like new. My father painted its head and rear lights red, this was not an original feature of the car.

The other two cars were found not so long ago in flea markets in Austria. They have seen better days, but they’re still in good “collector” condition.

The curious thing about the Mercury Police Wagon is that we already saw it in entry #227, only that release was much more recent. As said in that article, the Mercury seems to be inspired in Matchbox model Mercury Police Car, nr. 55D from 1971.

To my knowledge, VW Porsche 914 is a Playart’s own cast, similar to Siku’s, but clearly a different cast, as well as the Range Rover, it might be simlar to other Range Rovers, but I think the cast is unique.

Going back to the wheel types, note that these from the Porsche 914 are narrower than the other two. The hubcap is also a slightly different model. The other two cars have the “classic” (=most common) hubcap type for Playart models, while Porsche’s look a bit like Tomica’s classic hubcap.

  • Name: MERCURY POLICE, VW PORSCHE 914 and RANGE ROVER (7132 and 7138 and 7182)
  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: Around 1980
  • Company: Playart (Hong Kong)
  • Size: 7 cm

Sunday, July 28, 2013


This book is pure gold. It was edited in Ibi in 2005 for the first 100 years of toy industry in the town, 1905-2005, and includes two pages for each toy company (up to 52 companies) that has ever existed there. The first of those two include a short history of the company, told by their founders, or their families, the second page has some pictures related to that company.

The pages in this book includes information on the following toy companies (among many others):

  • Payá
  • Rico
  • Jyesa
  • Mecánica Ibense
  • Picó
  • Coloma y Pastor
  • Gozán
  • Industrial Juguetera (Injusa)
  • Joal
  • Vercor
  • Clim
  • Feber
  • Sanchis
  • Moltó
  • Gonher
  • Guisval
  • Pilen
  • Mira
  • Palau
  • Payvá
  • Guiloy
  • Román
  • Obertoys
  • Chicos
  • Game Movil

When looking for information on the internet, I always wonder how much of truth there is in what people write, where did they get the information, etc. With this book I can be sure that everything told is true, so it makes a great starting point for many of my articles in this blog.

When reading the book, I have noticed, that many of the texts in this book have already been (literally) ripped off by blog authors, websites and books, without changing anything.

A hard-to-find book recommended for people interested in Spanish toys. Next step for me is to visit the town of Ibi and the ultra-interesting “Valencia Toy Museum”.

Friday, July 26, 2013


I finally completed Peter Venkman, and now I have all 5 “Fright Features” Ghostbusters in my collection. And with this entry, I will make a summary of them. 
Peter Venkman fright feature is activated by pressing in the left arm.

The figure came with a blue hook accessory and a ghost named Gruesome Twosome (actually two ghosts in one piece). This name reminds me of the Matchbox car with the same name, although it seems to be a common expression in English.

The ghost interacts with the figure in some way, as in the other figures in this series. Gruesome Twosome can hang from the shoulders of the figure.

The complete series of the four Ghostbusters plus Janine can be seen in this picture. I keep them in a display cabinet at home with some other ghosts and figures. If you’re interested in other Real Ghostbusters figures, and want to read more about them, see more pictures, please visit entries #21 and #179 or the label “Real Ghostbusters”.

Here are some "family pictures":

Complete Set

All weapons

All weapons and ghosts

Every figure with its Ghostbusters logo

At home

  • Toy Line: The Real Ghostbusters (Wave 2)
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Kenner (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 14 cm approx.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013



The company was originally a book shop and a publishing company in the city of Ravensburg. This family business was lead by Carl Maier until the year 1876, when his son Otto took over his place. Otto Maier was born in 1852.

In 1883 Otto Meier signed the first contracts with game authors, releasing the first games the following year. Those were numbered OM-1, OM-2 and so on (Otto Maier). The first board game was called “Reise um die Erde”, which can be roughly translated to “Around the Globe”, and that was based in the stories by the priest and writer Christoph von Schmid.

Apart from numerous books, the company also had a vast catalogue of games, even in such an early year like 1914. Since the market for games was not mature yet, most of their publications were books. This situation would remain like this until the last 50s. Prior to those years (including World War 2 in between), board games, quartet card decks and Patience games were only a small part of all available publications.
During the last 50s, economy was again going better in Germany (after very hard times) and so Ravensburger could expand their catalogue with children’s books as well as technical books for arts and hobbies. That was a sign of the times. People had again time for their hobbies, and also time to play. The turning point in this company occurred in 1959: Ravensburger released a game called Memory that has been sold over 50 million copies, and that still today is one of the “best sellers” in games for children.

In the 60s, the company would expand for most European countries. In 1977, the book publishing business and the board game business would separate in two companies with the same name. 

The board game and card deck manufacturer F.X. Schmid is also part of the Ravensburger group, since it was acquired in 1996.

The deck today is rather old. It was edited in 1956, still under the “Otto Maier Verlag” name, but also under “Ravensburger Spiele”. We can see the logo on the lower right corner: an “O” with an “M” inside, that builds the belly of a figure.

The same logo appears on the back of the case, so it is the original one.

The card with the instructions is still there, as well as a card promoting the games: “Fische Fangen”, “Das Jagsspiel” and “Großwildjagd in Afrika” (Catch the Fishes, The Hunt Game and Hunting in Africa).
The instruction card has on its back a short list of quartet games also available at the time with their reference numbers. The owners of the pictures are correctly credited in that same card.

To finish the article, the families of cards are:

South and Western Switzerland

Northern Italy

Italian Riviera

Central Italy




French Riviera


  • Year: 1956
  • Company: Ravensburger / Otto Maier Verlag (Germany)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

#305 GUISVAL – MINI COOPER RALLYE 1:23 (Ref 525) (1971)

The holy grail of Guisval collectors in Spain is the ultra rare 1:23 scale series. It was only available during 4 consecutive years, and I guess it had to be quite expensive at the time. Therefore, it sold quite badly and today the few that make their way to online shops or auctions change hands for amounts that can reach up to 500 Euros, if the car is complete and boxed.

Back in the year 1971, there were very few adult toy collectors, I guess this line was more intended to young people that were already too old to play with cars, but loved cars and were still interested in technical aspects. The reproduction in 1:23 scale is not perfect, but it is quite near to the best possible reproduction considering the early date and the country of origin.

During the years 1971 to 1974, there were 8 cars made. These were:

  • Ref. 524 - Seat-Fiat 124 Sport 1600
  • Ref. 525 - Mini Rallye
  • Ref. 526 - Seat-Fiat 124
  • Ref. 527 - Renault R-12 S
  • Ref. 528 - Seat-Fiat 1430
  • Ref. 529 - Mini Sky
  • Ref. 530 - Seat-Fiat 1430 Policia
  • Ref. 531 - Renault 12 S Rallye

Some of the previous references wer made in several colours. For example, this Mini Cooper could be found in red, white or light orange. The Sky version (same with different decals and skies and poles on a roofrack) had, however, only one decoration (red).
In the catalogue from 1974 appeared two new models that, to my knowledge, were never made.

  • Ref. 522 - Renault R-5 Rallye
  • Ref. 523 - Renault R-5 Piraguas

The car in the pictures belonged to my uncle, and it's the Mini Rallye (Ref. 525) in red. Note the beatiful decals depicting sponsors like BP, Marchal or STP. The car is not 100% complete, but still in a great condition. It is one of the best toy cars I own.

You can see more catalogue images, or pictures from the other cars here:

As you may notice in the link above, these series were sold in two different types of boxes. On one side, a “classic” cardboard box with window, where the car was finished. A second box included the car screwed to a plastic base, with a sticker with the name of the car.

I'll try now to describe one by one the features of the car, helping myself with the many pictures I have taken. Hope you like it.

1) The car has opening bonnet, doors and trunk, in this picture I am showing the chromed motor under the bonnet. Also interesting in thsi picture is the presence o other chromed parts, like the bumbers, the frame of the windshield (including windshield wipers) and the realistic headlights. The roof of the car is made of black plastic, like many real Mini models.

As in many models from Guisval, the car has license plates starting with A (Alicante). That number (if it was real) would have been sold and registered in 1971, so it is a nice detail. From that year on (starting in June), new license plates were available for the whole country, starting with A-0000-A

2) The chassis of the car include the logos, names and scale, as usual, but has superdetailed exhaust pipes coming from the motor to the rear part of the car. Wheels can be removed revealing the brake disc. This can be done by means of a special key which was included on every packet, but that it my model is missing. Note in the following pictures that the wheels have a triangular central part. This cap fits in the axle, and keeps the wheel attached to it.

3) Opening Trunk with operating handle. Note also that every window and windshield has "glasses" and frames. The left rearlight is sadly missing.

4) The interior is probably the weakest point of the vehicle, that steering wheel is too big for the car and especially for that tiny interior. However the cockpit is well done.

5) Even the doors have "interiors"  and windows. Note that this window is half-open.

6) Front seats can be reclined to access the rear seats.

  • Name: MINI COOPER RALLYE (Ref. 525) (Serie Rallye, 1:23 scale)
  • Scale: 1:23
  • Year: 1971 (discontinued 1974)
  • Company: Guisval (Spain)
  • Size: Around 17 cm

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


The Secret Wars toy-line had among its references two big playsets: the “Tower of Doom” (this one) plus the “Freedom Fighter”. The first of these two was the villains fortress, while the second one was a platform for the Turbocopter with two big cannons for the good guys.

Both are relatively big and take a lot of space, but since it was offered to me at such a low price (20 Eur) I couldn’t say no. I’m glad I have it, because it is a toy I played as a kid with. A friend of mine had it, although he didn’t have any figures from the Secret Wars toy-line. We used it with Masters of the Universe, although these are much bigger.
Well, the Tower of Doom fortress is mint on box, and I didn’t applied stickers yet. I will show the whole contents of the box, and then I will try to review the building with its nice features Without assembling all parts, this review will be rather bad, but I’ll prefer that to opening vintage toys which are still in their original packages.

Needless to say, it is quite an impressive playset, I hope the pictures can give you an idea of it.

Ok, this is the box of the playset. This box was intended for the Spanish market. Internet search reveals that the American box is a bit different, since the back of it is made of white cardboard and depicts the toy with all its features. This version of the box is decorated with the same picture in both front and back sides. This picture is very appealing since it depicts a bunch of well known characters: Kang, Dr. Octopus, Dr. Doom and Captain America. The tower is shown over a stormy sky with a bit of fog, it’s a great picture.  In a smaller square the tower is shown from backwards in a picture with a child playing with the figures, so you can realize the real size of the toy.

The sides of the box highlight 6 features of the tower in independent frames:

  1. Observation turret
  2. 3 levels (floors) of action
  3. Secret compartment
  4. Trap in door turns to prison
  5. Platform lift
  6. Gliding seat over control panel

I will came back to these features later, now, let’s go with the contents of the box.

  • First and biggest part is the fortress itself. It cannot be disassembled, nor can be removed the lift of the doors to the prison. The walls of the fortress are hollow.
  • Second part is the turret that can be placed over the fortress, it came already mounted, with seat, side cannons and internal mechanism. By pushing a button on the frontal shield, the seat falls down, and with it, the figure sitting there.

  • Third: a bag that includes the gliding seat. I didn’t opened it, but it seems to be the best feature in the playset. Quite impressive that seat, and very fragile too. The seat part, by the way is the same than in the previous turret.
  • Fourth: A small bag including a grey shield plus some lenticular images. Unfortunately, European releases came with the images of one of the figures that were available apart. In America, each playset and vehicle had it’s own images, that you couldn’t get anywhere else. In this case, I got Dr. Octopus’. Each box included a shield in red in the case of the heroes or in grey if the vehicle or playset is intended for the villains. Every shield has a peg (red shield: round, grey shield: rectangular) that activates some mechanism, or reveals some hidden feature. In this case, the shield opens a secret compartment in one of the walls of the fortress.

  • Fifth: Instructions sheet. Nice that not every feature was described in the box… in the instructions we read about the secret passage/door to the lab, that can be opened from the inside as an emergency wayout.
  • Sixth: Stickers sheet, still unused.

  • Seventh: Mattel Spain's quality control sheet (virtually indistinguishable from those included in She-Ra: Princess of Power, Masters of the Universe, and other Mattel toylines).

Here’s a view of the fortress from the outside

And here’s from the inside.

Of course the Tower of Doom doesn’t look that well without the stickers and the gliding seat, but it is still quite impressive as is. A few more pictures with some figures over it, can be found in other Secret Wars entries.

To finish the article, I'll just go through the instructions leaflet:


How to place stickers:

Assembly of the gliding seat:

How to activate the feature of the observation turret:
How to open doors or keep them open:
How to open the secret compartment:
How to open the secret passage:

And finally, how to use the secret shield:

  • Alternate Names: TORRE ACORAZADA (Spanish)
  • Toy Line: Secret Wars (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1984
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the playset: Around 40 cms high

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